Bits & Bytes
HealthEngine to integrate with Yahoo!7 health site Online health directory and appointment booking service HealthEngine will be integrated into the Yahoo!7Lifestyle website, a joint venture between Yahoo! and Seven West Media that provides health-related content for consumers. While details of exactly how the integration will look are still being worked out, HealthEngine CEO Marcus Tan said it will probably work in the same way that realestate.com.au does for the Yahoo!7 real estate section. Seven West Media took a stake in HealthEngine along with Telstra in a joint investment worth $10.4 million in May last year. Seven West Media, which owns a newspaper and consumer magazine publishing business in addition to its TV network, has been actively targeting the consumer healthcare market. HealthEngine, which started off in 2006 as an online directory for GPs to find medical specialists, added online booking functionality for patients in early 2012. It offers a fee-per-appointment model. The HealthEngine website registers more than 500,000 unique visitors every month and it can also be integrated into practice management software, including Best Practice, PracSoft, Genie, Zedmed and allied health practice management specialist Cliniko, for those practices wanting to offer the convenience of online bookings to existing patients. Dr Tan said HealthEngine now had as many if not more allied health and dental practices listed for appointments as general practices. “I’d say half if not more are in the allied or dental space,” he said. “It is a bigger part of the market than GPs but GPs are the core in terms of driving referrals to allied health.”
Renewed calls for real-time prescription drug monitoring system The Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has renewed its recent calls for the expedited roll-out of the proposed national real-time prescription drug monitoring system at the Victorian Pharmaceutical Misuse Summit, held in Melbourne recently.
Better known as the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD) system, licences for the Tasmaniandeveloped software were purchased for the states and territories by the former Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek in February 2012.
Convened by the Victorian Department of Health, the summit brought together 90 representatives from the health sector, including the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the Pharmacy Guild of Victoria, Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre and the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA).
As the regulation of the prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs is the responsibility of the states and territories, changes to legislation and reporting processes are required in each jurisdiction.
Speaking in advance of the summit, AMA Victoria president Stephen Parnis said the Victorian Coroners Court had shown that in 2012, 304 Victorians died from prescription drug overdose, more than the state’s road toll of 282. Another 176 people had died from drug overdoses, 82 per cent of which were the result of prescription drugs, in the first half of 2013. AMA Victoria has been actively campaigning for the introduction of the realtime monitoring system as part of a raft of programs aimed at reducing prescription drug misuse.
“AMA Victoria has been actively campaigning for the introduction of the real-time monitoring system.” A spokeswoman for the federal Department of Health told Pulse+IT that ERRCD is currently installed on a secure host server and is operational, waiting for each state and territory to commence use. “The ERRCD system has been handed over to states and territories for their use via complimentary software licence agreements.” A spokesperson for the NSW Ministry of Health
said the department was currently working through the financial and practical implications of implementing ERRCD, and that a full roll out is likely to take three years. “There may need to be changes to legislation to require the provision of pharmacy dispensing records of controlled drugs and to enable access to records by medical practitioners and pharmacists,” the spokesperson said. Western Australia currently has a bill before state parliament that will support required changes to laws governing the collection, sharing and protection of personal data, but a WA Health spokesperson said there was still a lot of technical and administrative work that needed to be done before software can be rolled out. Queensland, meanwhile, is looking at what modifications the system might require and whether it can run in conjunction with its existing Monitoring of Drugs of Dependence System (MODDS). The system has been rolled out in Tasmania, but the Victorian and South Australian governments are still being lobbied by local AMA branches for news on its introduction.
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